teams use three-wideout sets to take advantage of mismatches
in the opposing team’s secondary. This strategy only
works when the third receiver is a much better player than
the number three defensive back. In fantasy football, you
can grab extra points by having a strong third receiver,
and you don’t have to worry about him getting off
the line cleanly.
In fantasy leagues that start three receivers, the surefire
way to make up a lot of fantasy ground each week is by
having enough depth to field a winner in
the third slot. Most owners attempt at their drafts to nail down two good wide
receivers early, but then focus on backup running backs and quarterbacks, and
sometimes the starting tight end, before returning to tab a player for that
last WR post. That is a mistake. The third time is a charm
in this regard, and whether
owners draft the receiver, trade for him or pull him from the waiver wire,
it is essential to use the position well. No one this season
wants to have to count
on Brian Finneran or James McKnight as a third receiver.
When looking for viable third fantasy wideouts, concentrate
on their touchdown totals. These unheralded fantasy receivers
are often surprising scorers, and
it is this ability to traipse in for the score that sets them apart from
strictly yardage players.
Below are the season’s best fantasy third wide receivers. In some leagues,
these guys will be used as the second starter. Just remember, three is a crowd
at the wide receiver position. If you can start a minor star in that third slot,
you will stand out among your fantasy peers. See if you can land one of these
guys in a trade, or be sure to play them as your third receiver if you already
own their services.
Peter Warrick – The former first-rounder is finally using his talent
productively. The Bengals are on a tear, and Warrick is waylaying the fantasy
balance by being just productive enough to sink opposing owners. His six touchdowns
and nearly 600 yards receiving make him a valuable third-slot fantasy receiver.
Justin McCareins – At 6-2 and 215 pounds, third year wideout McCareins
is making himself a nice red zone target for Steve McNair. McCareins has six
touchdown catches, and is benefiting from the extra looks he gets with Drew
Bobby Engram – The Penn State product has been building his fantasy
game the last few weeks. He has been more productive than Koren Robinson and
Darrell Jackson lately. With six touchdowns on the season, Engram has already
matched his career high.
Reggie Wayne – Wayne was the right player to man the receiver slot opposite
all-world wideout Marvin Harrison. He has 700 yards to go along with five end
zone celebrations. He scores in bunches, but has the yardage to be an every-week
Terry Glenn – Glenn had one monster game this year, and has been quiet
in a number of other contests. If he fails to hook up again soon with Quincy
Carter, he will cease to be a stud third fantasy receiver.
Steve Smith – 768 yards and five scores. Smith has been making big plays
for the Panthers this season, and for any fantasy owner who has inserted him
into their fantasy lineup.
Javon Walker – Walker seems to be the new main target for Favre, surpassing
Donald Driver, who hasn’t done anything for fantasy owners this season.
Javon now has five touchdowns, and goes against the woeful secondary fielded
by the Detroit Lions this Thanksgiving Day.
Tai Streets – His five touchdowns make him a nice third receiver. If
the 49ers can get Garcia healthy and be able to settle on one quarterback,
then Streets has a chance to up his production.
Jerry Porter – Porter has the potential to produce like a number one
or two fantasy wide receiver. Right now he makes a sneaky third wideout, and
he is beginning to play well with Rick Mirer.
Joe Levit, based in Boston, writes for www.cnnsi.com and www.thehuddle.com.
He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and a devoted Detroit
Lions fan. He can be contacted at email@example.com.